McLaren F1 GTR #59 – Minichamps

1995 McLaren F1 GTR 
Pilots: J. J. Lehto, Y. Dalmas, M. Sekiya
Team: Kokusai Kaihatsu Racing
Race: 1st GC (GT1 class) at Le Mans in 1995
Minichamps - 530154359 (diecast)

Published 05/27/18

Gordon Murray, the father of the McLaren F1, originally saw his creation as the ultimate road car. Even though the car had many race car characteristics, it was basically just a passenger car. However, in 1994, with the creation of the BPR Global GT Series, the use of modified sports cars became feasible. And with that, a few racing teams immediately thought about the McLaren F1.

At first Murray was totally against the idea. With time, however, he gave in and agreed to modify a few F1 chassis with all-out racing in mind. These race-specific cars were called F1 GTR. The stock F1 was basically a race car for the streets, so the conversion demanded very few modifications. McLaren stripped the interior and added cooling ducts and a roll cage. They also swapped stock brakes for high-end carbon units and added large wing the rear. Legend says that the F1 GTR could drive on the ceiling of a tunnel at only 160 km/h!

Cool car, very nice model, but that antenna…

Powered by BMW’s S70/2 V12 engine, the F1 GTR boosted 592 hp. Interestingly, that was less than what the road car delivered. That’s because race regulations at the time demanded the use of an air restrictor to limit engine power. Though less powerful, the GTR was still faster and more nimble due to a lowered overall weight. For the 1995 season a total of nine chassis would be built, and of these, seven were lined up for the 24 Heures du Mans of 1995, with four of them finishing in the first five places. Car #59 (chassis #01R, the original GTR prototype), though starting in 9th place, and under almost constant rain, managed to finish in 1st place. Chassis #01R only raced at Le Mans in 1995, and currently is in the McLaren museum.

F1s at Le Mans.

So let’s see: one of the most fantastic road cars of all times and the first victory at La Sarthe for a McLaren car and a BMW engine? That spells g-r-a-i-l model. Though I fully appreciate what the McLaren F1 represents, I confess I’m not exactly a huge fan of the road car. BUT, the GTR is smoking hot in my eyes (yes, I’m a sucker for wings). So even though I’m not hot for the regular F1, the F1 GTR #59 was a must buy for me. Another standard model from Minichamps, with pretty good detail overall and a VERY nice representation of such an important car. I really liked the model but that ugly aerial is bothering, so I’ll see if I can do something about it.


Published 05/30/18

I presume most people think that guitar strings are ideal to make good aerials, but I never used that technique. What I used back in my 1:18 days was acupuncture needles, and they always worked fine for me, and can also be used for 1:43rds. My Le Mans winning Mac had a bad aerial, that was a tad too thick and worse, was crooked. So I thought of making it look better using a needle.

Acupuncture needles come in different sizes and thickness, from hair thin to about 0.5 mm ø. And best of all, they come with a handle that is perfect as the base for the aerial.

In terms of price you will spend literally pennies for one antenna.

You will need a pair of tweezers, a good cutting pliers and obviously glue.

Cut them big and then you trimm to the correct size.

So I cut a section of the shaft of the needle and a small piece of the handle, and than it was just a matter of removing the ugly plastic one and stabbing the new one in the hole on the roof, with an itsy-bitsy drop of glue.

NOW it looks good.

A 5 minute job and my F1 GTR #59 looks much closer to the real thing, a LOT better than how it arrived.

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